For the most part, Pardot is straightforward to set up, yes there are those odd cases where you have to be creative and think outside the box. But when it comes to the campaign planning Pardot simply don’t have the same power as Salesforce. One of the typical questions I get around this is “What is best practice? Can you guide us?”. Most of the time, I don’t really know the ins and outs of how my customers plan their campaigns and some don’t do campaign planning, they do it ad hoc! So that makes it really hard to come up with a solution that fit their specific requirements. However, I do have my model or approach on how to use Salesforce campaigns (in collaboration with Pardot), which I tend to implement in one form or another. As I mentioned, as all businesses are different it is not possible to come up with a solution that fits all businesses, but I do believe that key principles are transferable to most situations. So I will try to wrap up my approach nicely for you Pardot folks to grab, be inspired by or simply disagree.
Often when marketing is planning their campaigns one campaign is seldom alone. Meaning if you are hosting a webinar you have the actual webinar that stakeholders can sign up to, but you probably also have an email invitation to existing prospects to get them to sign up for the webinar and maybe you also want to send out a thank you email after the webinar. Technically it’s one campaign with several different components. How do you ensure that you know which campaigns that belong together? Well, the answer is pretty simple: Salesforce campaigns! Each campaign can be related to a parent campaign thus creating a hierarchy of campaigns.
Now some companies have a strategic focus for the year as well wanting to see how much effort is being put towards these areas when end of year comes. If you have standalone campaigns it is very hard when you get to year end to tell management “I had 15 campaigns to increase brand awareness”. It could at least end up being a manual effort to get these numbers. Again if we leverage the campaign hierarchy each campaign could be associated with a strategic focus.
Okay, this is all great but what does that mean in practice? Let’s try and look at an example. My fictive company decides when creating the marketing plan for the year that they want to focus on two areas:
- Brand Awareness
- Promote the new product Unicorn
Those two campaigns are my strategic focus, hence my top-level campaign. For the first quarter, I have already started mapping out my marketing efforts in details. I know I will be launching the new product Unicorn and I have a series of activities I plan to do:
- Host a webinar for potential customers
- Send teaser email to potential customers
- Send a product trial email to potential customers
- Ask for feedback from product Unicorn customers at the end of the quarter.
Equally, I would, of course, try mapping the activities I expect to carry out on my other strategic focus. However, I’ll leave that out in this example.
With these activities planned, how does it look in the campaign hierarchy? The illustration below divides my campaigns into strategic focus, campaign initiatives and campaign components. How you split them is of course up to you, but the idea is to have the strategic focus as the first level, then the second level which is your header campaign and then each component that goes into your campaign on a third level.
You can choose to have more or fewer levels in your campaign hierarchy, but the key to remember is does it capture the information and structure you need to plan your campaigns and do proper reporting? And how much manual effort is there in entering your campaigns into Salesforce? We don’t want to introduce too many levels just because, there has to be a reasoning behind it, which is why I find the three-level hierarchy fits most companies.
Campaign Record Types & Fields
Once you have your campaign hierarchy down why not optimize the three levels to your process? By that I mean create a record type and specific fields for each level to capture the information you need on each level. Chances are that what information you need on a strategic level is different than what you need on a campaign component level. For instance, on a strategic level, you might want to include a strategic focus picklist that contains values like brand awareness, employee branding, product promotion etc. and you can exclude fields like the standard type field, which is more relevant for the lowest level of campaigns. For the header campaign, you may want to have both a marketing owner and a sales owner. And on the campaign component level, you can consider if it’s relevant to include milestone dates for the production of the campaign and maybe remove the hierarchy fields and related lists as this is the lowest level.
My advice is to start mapping out the fields you need to plan, maintain and report on your campaign effort. But as with the campaign hierarchy don’t over complicate it, you want to make sure that the fields you introduce are relevant to the process.
Campaign Member Status
This is the hidden part I really enjoy and find extremely powerful and to be honest I only really started appreciating this functionality when engagement programs were introduced to Pardot. What is it? Well, leads and contacts in Salesforce can be associated with a Salesforce campaign with a status. By default, this status will be sent and responded. This is for many not really that relevant, but you can always change the status based on the type of campaign you are running. So for an email, you may want to record “to be sent”, “sent”, “opened”, “clicked” “no response”. For a webinar, you may need “invited”, “registered”, “attended” and “no show”. So here is the problem, by default, it is a manual process every time you create a new campaign to also create the member statuses to be used. Oh, what a bore! And on top of that what if I in one webinar call it “no show” and in another “not attended”? Well, it will be really hard to report on it. Therefore, I always recommend installing the AAkonsult Campaign Status app from AppExchange. This free product will allow you to define the statuses centrally based on the type field and hereafter the member statuses will automatically be created for the campaign. So it does not only ensure better reporting its also a massive time saver for marketing.
So why do I appreciate this functionality? Well, it’s powerful for:
- easy segmentation in Pardot by creating dynamic lists and using the Salesforce campaign as the criteria,
- easy segmentation within an engagement program,
- prepare for future engagements based on engagement with other Salesforce campaigns,
- easy overview for marketing and sales to see the individual prospect’s interaction with key campaigns,
- creating more flexible and specific reporting on campaign engagement and influence.
Okay, let me put a few more words on this. Salesforce reports is more flexible than the criteria you can set up for a dynamic list in Pardot mainly because you can use any related data/objects for your segmentation and with a click on a button a report of contacts are added to your campaign. Also sometimes you might have a campaign that is exclusive to prospects nominated by Sales. Well, using campaign and the campaign member status you can quickly pass this information on to Pardot without having to recreate the segmentation. Further, you can use the status to segment your prospects within an engagement program, maybe prospects that attended a webinar should receive a different message than the no-shows. Taking the engagement example further, maybe the no-shows should be added to another campaign for the same webinar a month later where an invitation will be sent out shortly.
By using the statuses properly everyone in the organization is able to get insight into the engagement with a campaign by looking at the individual prospect and their campaign history. They can see that a prospect was a no-show and that they have been added to receive an email about an upcoming webinar, which is valuable information for a sales rep that is preparing for a meeting with this contact.
Finally, Pardot is not that flexible when it comes to reporting and comparing campaigns. If some of the same information is in Salesforce reports can be created there. The big problem is that Pardot activities are (not yet at least) stored in Salesforce, which means we cannot run any reports on this information. However, if we use Salesforce campaigns smart, we can run all the reports we want on them.
Hopefully, you too are appreciative of the campaign member status and start leveraging it fully in your campaigns.
When multiple people are involved in campaign planning and execution it can become confusing and maybe you have different approval processes you need to go through… Is the budget approved? Is the design approved? Is the content approved? Well, Pardot cannot support this. There are no approval processes in Pardot, but there is in Salesforce. Or at least we can configure them on the campaign object.
So if you have any approval processes in you campaign setup leverage Salesforce! Leverage Salesforce campaigns!
A lead is created in Salesforce by Pardot and associated with a Salesforce campaign. When that same lead later is converted to a contact, account, and opportunity, that opportunity is related to the campaign. This association allows marketing to see the opportunities that have been directly influenced by a campaign, which can even be seen directly in the campaign details (if you add the fields and the related list to the page layout). So you as a marketer are able to see how many opportunities you have directly influenced including their value in terms of open pipeline and won opportunities. This is gold for most marketers in order to document ROI of their campaigns.
Salesforce also has a nice standard report that allows seeing the indirect campaign influence. The direct influence is determined by the “Primary Campaign” field on the opportunity object but the indirect campaign influence is determined by the opportunity contact role and the campaign member, if the contact is the same it assumes there is an indirect influence.
Simply put, start looking at the opportunity and campaign relation, so you can prove your effort is worth extra budget.
Get cracking with campaigns
With all those arguments my advice is if you don’t use Salesforce campaigns get cracking! As I see it they are a must in any Pardot setup both from a campaign planning perspective, reporting, and insight into the individual prospect.
I am happy to hear if you have other tips for leveraging Salesforce campaigns.